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From “The Bass Violin” in the collection “Decemberlands”

November 22, 2019

Svetlana Miller-The Bass Violin-Illustration 4

The Seventh Day

It was one of those winter mornings when you look outside and can’t bear the thought of being inside another minute—the sky blue as a storybook sea, the sun slanting in, hitting the window hard, throwing a golden square on the bedroom floor, and, in the center of the square, the sharp-edged shadow of you. These are the mornings when you throw open the window—never mind the frost, the unmistakeable sensation of your nose turning pink with chill, the sound of your mother telling you you’ll catch your death of cold standing there in your cotton pajamas, never mind all that—you breathe in deep and the air tastes like mint and the day ahead feels limitless. Yes, you’re already old enough to know that every day has its limits. You know that days like this in particular can’t help but disappoint. You’re no fool, after all, the most levelheaded of all the levelheaded kids in the Bronx. But you let yourself expect, if only for a moment, that something wonderful will happen today…

Read more in my illustrated holiday short-story collection Decemberlands, available at

Illustration by Svetlana Larionova Miller, from Decemberlands.

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